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Awaiting first Mother’s Day after ‘gift from God’

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About 12 years ago, Bill and Susan Armbrecht decided to call it quits on trying to have a child.

“We used to avoid going to church on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day because it was too painful,” Bill Armbrecht recalled.

On Sunday, Susan Armbrecht will celebrate her first Mother’s Day. Their daughter, Allie Grace, was born Sept. 28.

“I believe that we wouldn’t have this child if it wasn’t for our faith,” he said. “I truly believe that this baby is a gift from God, the desire of our hearts.”

The Armbrechts had tried for years to conceive. Recalling the fertility treatments, she said, “Bill had to chase me around the house to give me shots.”

They considered adoption, but the cost proved prohibitive.

“The doctors couldn’t tell us why we couldn’t have children, and we couldn’t figure out why we couldn’t have children,” she said.

One day early last year, she felt a little strange and decided that her symptoms must be menopause-related.

Wanting to rule out pregnancy, she used one of the tests sometimes given to female patients at the Alabama Orthopedic Clinic, where she served as a technician in pain management.

Surprised and unsure when she saw the result, she asked a nurse to interpret it. The nurse said that she was pregnant.

On the way home that day she purchased a greeting card, put the test results in it and placed it in the kitchen where her husband could find it.

“Is this for real?” he asked.

As the months advanced, the Armbrechts read everything they could about pregnancy in older women. That information caused some concern, but they decided against medical tests such as amniocentesis — used to identify potential birth defects and other problems.

Instead, the Armbrechts relied on their faith.

Susan Armbrecht said that she experienced a smooth pregnancy, with no morning sickness and little weight gain.

Allie Grace arrived three weeks early, a situation her father jokingly blames on the excitement of the Alabama-Georgia football game played the previous day.

“She heard all the yelling and screaming and said that she wasn’t going to miss the rest of the season,” said Bill Armbrecht, a Crimson Tide fan and owner of The Brick Pit, a local barbecue restaurant.

Sitting in the living room of their west Mobile home recently, they played with Allie Grace and joked about being simultaneously amazed and sleepy.

Bill Armbrecht said he hopes their experience will encourage other couples who still want children, but fear parenthood is beyond their reach.

Allie Grace’s parents now playfully compete about their daughter’s future: Mom wants her to be a ballet dancer and a cheerleader. Dad wants her to become the first female field goal kicker on scholarship at Alabama.

“What fascinates me the most is that every day I’m holding this little girl, it’s like holding an angel,” he said. “Those blue eyes look up at me and I feel like I’m holding an angel.”

“She wakes up at 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. and she’s smiling,” Susan Armbrecht said. “You can’t be mad at a baby that’s smiling at you. She’s a good baby. I said if God was going to give me one this late in life, he’s going to give me a good one.”

Read more: Awaiting first Mother’s Day after ‘gift from God’

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